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It’s police who need computers, not primary schools

By Charles Ouko | July 22nd 2013

By Charles Ouko

Over the past  5 years and more, the statement ‘police reforms’ has occupied acres of space  in our local media, and continues to do so.

However as I writer, I must express my dismay over the lack of clarity and precision on what exactly ‘police reforms’ entail. The absence of the same, has been the stand out feature in virtually all reports churned out by my fellow scribes on the subject.

I wish to offer the following treatise, stating without fear of contradiction, that the first and most urgent need of the Kenya Police Service, is the introduction of computers, as their basic tool of trade.

Actually computers, ‘four C’s’ aspects of radically reforming the Police Service, involve Computers, Cars, Cash and Calibre .The last ‘C’ refer to the right human resource, while “cash” refers to remuneration.

The principal function of any police service or force in the world over is to detect and deter criminal activity. The most basic and fundamental tool to effectively carry out this core mandate, is the computer. For the simple yet critical function of data collection, entry, analysis and dissemination.

It is both shocking and appalling that 50 years after independence, the computer is by and large, an alien tool to the Kenya Police!! Whether by design or accident, of our first post-independence governments is a story for another day.

Suffice to say on this, the known structure of the Kenya Police has been the station and the division. Until the last 3 or so years of the Mwai Kibaki government, the standard police division was aligned to the well known and established, administrative districts. For example Kitui, Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos and so forth. Police stations today stand at around 500.

A sad feature of current top cop David Kimaiyo’s first year in office , has been his needless turf wars with his technical employer, the National Police Service Commission. (NPSC) Headed by the pretty clueless Johnston Kavulundi, they have been fighting over matters that add no value to the deliverables.

Upon the advent of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee government, Kimaiyo has been quoted as stating that he would require ksh.150b,again over five years to effectively ‘reform’ the police service!! In several interviews Kimaiyo has also been quoted, seemingly praising himself, by stating that ‘reforms’ are well on track!!

I beg to completely differ with Kimaiyo and now offer the following incontrovertible reasons, for my position.

President Uhuru, is response to the escalating bloodletting that was witnessed in his first month in office, announced that he had made a special budgetary allocation of 4 billion shillings. While making the announcement, President Uhuru was emphatic that this allocation was for modernizing the Police Service. He further added that it would be immediately available and a similar sum would be paid out for the same cause annually,during his first five year term of office.

If Kimaiyo is reading this, I wish to tell him, again, without fear of contradiction ” Sir, even if you just took the first 4 billion, tranche, and never got any other monies, you can completely transform the police service, by putting, all of it into the provision of computers”.

Completely transform

Note that I use the term transform and not the tired cliché ‘police reforms’. Let’s work on 500 police stations and 50 police command units, going by our current County set ups.

Assuming a good quality desktop costs ksh.30, 000, complete (inflated of course), and we want to install only 20 in every police station. We would only require 10, 000 desktop computers. And how much would this cost you? ‘Only’ 300 million shillings to purchase!!

Make provision for another 200 million shillings to be used on, equipping the 47 County Commander offices and OCS’s with similar equipment i.e. a combination of both desktops, lap tops and I Pads, plus installing all these desktops and training on their use.

Finally let us throw in another 200million for setting up the National Police Computer or NPC.


In less than 1 billion Kenya shillings, Kenya can have in place a Police Service, whose data collection, entry, analysis and dissemination systems, is world class, in every sense of the word for only Sh 1bn and not Sh 60 billion.

In case The Inspector –General and the NPSC Chair Kavulundi are still in doubt about what has been stated above, let them be advised that a significant number, of serving cops both men and women, in both arms of the service, are very computer savvy.

How do I know?

There must be at least a few thousand cops, who hold university degrees and I would imagine, that the majority of them are aged under 40. It is of course a near dead certainity  that if you are under 40,and hold a Uni degree, that you own or are at least competent in the use of both a lap top or smart phone.

Much like the slowly reforming judiciary, these old breed of cops, are blight on the Kenya Police. Having come through the ranks, when meritocracy was an alien word, they personify all things wrong with Kenya’s Police Service .Impunity, abuse of office and bribery to mention but a few of their well-documented vices.

The advent of Computer era in the Kenya Police Service, will among other things, sieve the wheat from the chaff and cause the good cream, that undoubtedly exists within the service, to rise to the top, both literally and figuratively!!

The benefits of a fully computerised and online based Police Service will form my second and last part installment on this subject.

Mark that we blew about ksh.15billion on BVR and EVID equipment during 4 March elections, which collapsed within an hour of the vote counting process! So the issue here is certainly not cost!!

The Jubilee government should use a more worth, noble and transformative project to digitalised the entire Kenya Police Service!!













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